Good Eats Newsletter - February 3, 2010

This Week's Vegetable Share Contains:
2 lbs Rose Gold or Red Norland Potatoes; 2 lbs Red Beets; 2 lbs Red Onions; 1 lb Sunchokes, 1 Bulb of Garlic plus.....

Shoot/Claytonia Mix
1 Bag Frozen Squash Puree
1 lb Bag Frozen Braising Greens

Localvore Offerings Include:
Red Hen Maize Bread
Vermont Pasta Linguine
Pete's Sauerkraut
Champlain Orchards Apple Butter

Only Two Deliveries Left
This week, February 3rd and next week February 10th are the last 2 weeks of this share period. The Spring share begins on February 17th.

Spring Share Sign-up Forms due by February 10th
There's only one week left to get your sign up sheet in without interruption to your weekly deliveries. In order to ensure delivery on February 17th, your forms and payments need to be mailed to the farm by February 10th.

Don't miss out on your weekly deliveries of fresh, organic Vermont grown goodness! We are gearing up for spring now, planting seedlings and getting the greenhouses ready for new growth. It won't be long now before a new bounty springs forth. We will continue to grow shoots and sprouts and some winter salad greens through the early months of the share but by April you can expect a wide variety of fresh spring greens, from mesclun and baby spinach and arugula to pac choi, chard and a variety of Asian greens. We'll have new young roots and scallions and such by April as well and by May and June we'll be into head lettuces and cucumbers, radishes, baby fennel and more.

As always, we will continue to bring you a variety of localvore items. This share will bring eggs every other week, bread most weeks, regular appearances of local flours and grains, new cheeses, local sweeteners, locally grown mushrooms, tofu and soy products, apples and fruits, and new products as we discover them.

Sign-up for the Spring Localvore Share (Feb 17th - Jun 9th)

Sign-up for the Spring Meat Share (4 Deliveries: Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5, June 2)

Spring Vegetables May 2009 and Salad Greens Jan 24, 2010

The Great Equipment Saga of 2010

As some of you have read, one of my obsessions is the acquiring of farm equipment. I'm not sure why I enjoy it so much as I'm not especially mechanical, but I do really appreciate the way a new piece of equipment can improve the farm. Time after time we've found that getting the proper piece of steel saved time, made life easier for those doing the physical work, and made the farm more financially secure. Those are all good reasons for loving farm equipment but I think the real reason I love it is the toy factor. This stuff is just like playing with Tonkas in the sand box.

I spend significant time each winter looking for equipment online. Often it is a special item, not so easy to find. Heading the list this winter is a root crop sizer and onion topper. I found a sizer at an equipment dealership in Ontario a couple months back and made a deal with the owner on the phone. One of the side effects of frequently upgrading equipment is that you start to accumulate things that are too small, too old, or for some other reason don't fit the operation. I agreed to trade him a greens washer and conveyor belt that we no longer use for the root sizer and some future credit.

Meg and I set off across New York pulling a 25 ft gooseneck trailer with our underpowered F 250. Top speed was 51 mph which made for a long trip to western Ontario. Along the way we stopped at a conference in Syracuse and spoke about winter greens production. Crossing into Canada was simple and we avoided the heavy taxes we'd been told we'd have to pay for importing farm equipment into Canada. During our final 5 hours of driving we bucked a 40 mile an hour headwind which dropped our speed to 45 mph and our mileage to less than 8 mpg. Upon arrival the equipment dealership accidently flipped our greens washer upside down while unloading it, smashing some critical parts. After spending a frozen afternoon on the Ontario tundra we loaded the root crop sizer and headed to Guelph for another conference.

We spoke at the Guelph conference and decided to get a jump on the trip home and headed to the border. We'd been assured by the dealership that they had done all the paperwork for the border crossing. The first time we tried to cross we were turned back as we did not have an ace manifest. Our second attempt was at a different crossing where we knew our manifest was residing in the Fed Ex broker office not 50 ft. from where we sat in our truck talking to the Customs agent. We were not allowed to walk the 50 ft. to get the Manifest as the rule is that you must have the Manifest before you get to the agent. Then we were subjected to a full vehicle x-ray, threatened with a $5000 fine for attempting to cross twice without proper paperwork, and sent back to Canada.

Finally after an overnight in Canada and some 1 a.m. phone calls with a different broker we got the proper paperwork faxed and were on the road in the morning. I'd like to say it was great to be back in the States but the general rudeness we received from border agents on the U.S. side contrasted with the general pleasantness of the Canadian agents and the real friendliness of everyone we met in Ontario. Maybe Pete's Greens will be moving north, eh? ~ Pete

Pete's Greens served up on FarmPlate

Kim Werner featured Pete's Greens for the FarmPlate blog last week. Click here to read the post. FarmPlate is a on line community for folks interested in eating locally and sustainably. There are lots of great posts here, some dedicated to farmers, some to producers, some to restaurants who are working hard to promote the localvore movement. There are recipes here too, as well as great short posts on subjects such as food labeling and sustainable seafood. Take a look around, there's lots of good information here.

Job Openings at Pete's Greens
As I mentioned last week, we are looking for two people with unique skills to fill important positions on the farm. We have received quite a few applications and will begin the review process later this week and begin scheduling interviews next week. Complete job descriptions for these positions may be found on on our site on our job postings page.

Interested applicants should email cover letter and resume to me:
Please put the job title in the subject line of the email.

Or send cover letter and resume by mail to:
Job Openings
Pete's Greens
266 S. Craftsbury Rd
Craftsbury, VT 05826

Wash-house Manager
The wash house manager is a key position at Pete's Greens as this person oversees all handling of produce on the farm and communicates with all other members of our team. The wash house manager is involved in the harvest of vegetables from the fields, and oversees the cleaning, grading and packing of our produce. The wash house manager oversees 2-6 people working at different stations ensuring that a high level of quality control is maintained by all and processing is handled in an efficient manner. This is a physically and mentally demanding job requiring great organizational skills, ample energy, attention to detail, ability to manage and motivate people, clear written and verbal communication skills, and a positive attitude. This is a year round position with a 4 day work week. Benefits include produce and partial health insurance. Pay is commensurate with abilities with potential for excellent pay.

Kitchen Manager
We are looking for an energetic and highly motivated individual to manage our commercial kitchen. The kitchen manager is responsible for preserving a portion of the farm's harvest by means of freezing, canning, or incorporation into lacto-fermented products. The kitchen manager will help bring value added products to our growing Good Eats CSA, a year round farmers' market in Montpelier and our popular farmstand in Craftsbury Village. The position requires an individual who is creative, focused and organized; is able to work independently and efficiently; can work well in a team environment; and can train and supervise kitchen staff. Knowledge of food, food preservation techniques, food safety is critical with proven ability to create and standardize large volume recipes a plus. Full time flexible hours. Longer hours may be required during the harvest months with fewer hours in the winter months. Pay is dependent on experience.

Pete's Pastured Chicken

Our chickens live(d) a fabulous life roaming around the fields in the good company of their friends the pigs. From an early age they dined on our sprouts and shoots before they were able to move out onto organic pasture land. It is a documented fact that the meat of pastured poultry is packed with a higher vitamin content and is lower in fat than birds raised in the standard barn environment. Most free range birds aren't pastured and may never eat grass, they just have more room to roam in their barns and yards than factory birds. Pastured meats are the healthiest for you and for the environment.

Get your birds now! We deliver orders weekly to pick up sites. Click here to go directly to the chicken page where you can download an order form.

Localvore Lore
We have Red Hen Baking Co's Maize bread this week. Each time Randy makes the bread he changes the formula a bit as he fine tunes it. Randy uses a local corn variety called Wapsie Valley grown at Aurora Farms (and sold under the Nitty Gritty Grains label). The bread features around 25% cornmeal and then the balance is made up with flour. I believe in this week's loaves Randy is using the organic white flour grown at Aurora Farms. He uses two kinds of starter, both a yeasted starter and one made with his wild-yeasted levain. The bread is hearty with a crust that has a great corn flavor. This bread is a work in progress so please email your feedback!

For a long time I have wished for a truly local pasta, and finally there is one in our midst. Ted Fecteau recently started his VT Pasta company in Barre. Tim ran into Ted at the Capitol City Farmers Market and they got to talking... Since then, we have urged Ted to create some pasta for Good Eats. What you receive this week is the result of some experimentation and testing and we think the end product is fantastic. The linguine in the share is a 50/50 mix of Ben Gleason's whole wheat flour and Aurora Farm's white flour. The other ingredients in the pasta are water and local eggs. A bit of organic rice flour is used to dust the pasta to keep it from sticking but the amount is tiny. To cook this fresh pasta, Ted recommends the following. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the frozen or thawed pasta to the water and bring back to a boil over high heat for 1-2 minutes. Drain pasta with a colander and dress as desired. The container the pasta is packaged in what looks like plastic but in fact is made of corn and is completely compostable. We really look forward to your feedback on this one. If people like this pasta we are excited to be able to offer it on a fairly regular basis, a couple times during a share. Please email us and tell us what you think.

We have Champlain Orchards Organic Apple Butter made with Champlain Orchards organic apples, with added organic cinnamon, cloves and allspice. This is the unsweetened variety rather than the kind with added sugar. Apple butter is delicious spread on bread, toast, pancakes, waffles, on vanilla ice cream, etc. The apples are pureed and cooked down which makes it thick and concentrates the natural sugars in the apples.

We have a new batch of Pete's Sauerkraut this share, this time a simple classic sauerkraut made with just cabbage and salt. The lactobacilli responsible for turning the cabbage into sauerkraut brings numerous benefits beyond preserving the cabbage. The lactobacilli in fermented foods enhances the digestibility of the foods and increases vitamin levels. The lactobacilli produce numerous beneficial enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances and the lactic acid also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. This is an excellent food and it is highly recommended that we each eat a small amount of fermented vegetables each day.

Storage and Use Tips
Sunchokes - Sunchokes are the tuber of a perennial flower in the sunflower/aster family and are native to North America. There are competing theories as to how they came about their other name Jerusalem artichokes. In 1605, Samuel de Champlain first saw Native Americans harvesting these sweet crunchy tubers. The Native Americans called them sun roots, but Champlain thought they tasted like artichokes and called them artichauts de Canada. The plants were also clearly a member of the sunflower family and so were also called girasole (Italian for sunflower, meaning "turning to the sun"). It is thought that somehow these two names merged to become Jerusalem artichokes.

Sunchokes can be eaten raw or cooked in all the same ways that you can cook potatoes. Scrub the tubers thoroughly with a brush. Peeling can be difficult because of the knobbiness and is not necessary, the peels are edible. Like potatoes the flesh will darken with exposure to air so if serving them raw, dip in acidulated water. Because of high levels of iron, stored cooked sunchokes will also turn gray. This can be minimized by adding ¼ tsp cream of tartar or 1 TB vinegar or lemon juice to the cooking water. They cook quickly and will turn to mush so monitor carefully. Sunchokes should be stored in a cool, dry place or in the vegetable drawer wrapped in paper towels to absorb moisture and sealed in a plastic bag.

Shoot/Salad Mix - The shoot mix this week is a blend of sunflower shoots, radish sprouts, claytonia, and chickweed.

Meat Share

Applecheek Farm Veal Cutlets - John and Rocio Clark are very proud of how they run their farm and raise their animals. Their meat is all certified organic. Although not in the business of raising veal, male calves are part of the reality on their organic dairy. According to Rocio, "Our veal is raised the old fashioned way, with plenty of milk from their mothers. They nurse whenever they choose; with plenty of grass in our certified organic fields and with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. As a result, their meat is rosy pink with a robust flavor and great tenderness and is very high in nutrients. The calves are born in the spring and slaughter in the fall." Pounded thin, coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter, these cutlets make awesome Wiener Schnitzel. Serve them with braised cabbage and German potato salad and you'll be in Alsatian heaven!

A recipe for Emeril Lagasse's Veal Parmesan can be found on the Sep 1, 2009 blog post.

Bonnieview Lamb Kabobs - The lamb in the share was grown for us by Neil and Kristin at Bonnieview Farm. These lambs are mostly male offspring of Neil's herd of dairy sheep. The kabobs are a shoulder cut and should be marinated to tenderize them. I have included an Indian kabob recipe below that should be delicious.

Mountain Foot Trout - We last had Curt Sjolander's trout in the share last August. It takes a long time for the trout to reach a marketable size, and that is why there is often a long time span between their appearance in the meat share. Curt raises these brown trout in ponds on his farm in Wheelock, VT. The fish are raised in very cold water (especially this time of year) and due to the cold water and low stocking density, Curt never needs antibiotics for his fish. This is fish farmed in a very sustainable way. The fish have been descaled and cleaned, but the skin and bones remain.

Pete's Chicken - We have selected some large chickens for you this week. You'll be able to roast or stew a large one and have plenty leftover for other meals!


Butternut Squash-Parsnip Soup with Thyme
In case you still have parsnips in your veggie drawer leftover from last week (I know I didn't offer up a recipe last week).... This one is from Bon Appetit October 1997.

2 tablespoons butter
1 2-pound butternut squash, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into 8 pieces
1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, thick end pieces cut lengthwise in half
1/4 cup water
1 onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried
4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup half and half

In a pot of boiling water, simmer parsnips til tender. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and thyme; sauté until onion is tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Puree onion mixture and parsnips until smooth using a food processor or a potato masher if you don't mind some lumps in your soup. Mix in broth and squash puree.

Transfer mixture to heavy large saucepan. Whisk in half and half (you can substitute whole or even low fat milk here if you lke). Bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)

VT Pasta Linguine Three Ways
Of course there are endless ways to dress up your VT Pasta linguine. The sauce will likely take you longer to make than the pasta itself, so with this lovely fresh pasta have everything else ready before dropping the pasta in the pot. To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then put in the thawed or frozen pasta. Bring the water back to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Then immediately drain the pasta, transfer back to the cooking pot, stir in your chosen additions, and serve.
1. Butter and Parmesan - For simplicity, to let the pasta flavor shine through, this is the way to go. After draining the pasta, simply transfer to a bowl and add a knob of butter and some shaved parmesan.

2. Sundried Tomato, Olive and Garlic
Put a TB or so of olive oil in a pan and add 10 -20 chopped kalamata olives, a few chopped sundried tomatoes and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic (and a sprinkling of crushed red pepper if you want some spice). Heat gently til fragrant. Remove from heat and add to pasta coating the pasta well (add a bit more olive oil if necessary). Finish off with some grated parmesan and serve.

3. Butternut Squash Sauce and Braising Greens over Linguine
1-2 TB butter or oil
half a small onion, sliced thin
pinch of sugar
1-2 cloves of garlic
a few leaves of sage
2 cups of squash puree
1/4 cup braising greens

For this one, saute a small onion in the pan in a TB or two of butter or olive oil with a pinch of sugar til very soft. Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic and a few leaves of sage if you have them in the last several minutes, and do not let the garlic brown. Add 2-3 cups of squash puree plus 1/4 bag of braising greens and heat through. Finally, add 1/2 cup of parmesan to the sauce. Taste to adjust seasonings and then combine with your pasta. Add more grated parm t finish the dish if you like.

Lemon and Herb Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes
This one has been adapted slightly from a recipe in Andrea Chessman's Serving Up the Harvest. This is a simple and tasty way to get to know this vegetable a bit better.

1 lb Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)
1.5 TB olive oil
1 garlic clove
a light sprinkling of dried basil
zest of a 1/4 lemon
coarse or kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 500F and lightly grease a shallow roasting pan with oil.

Scrub the sunchokes well or peel them. Cut off the irregular knobs to make reasonably regular shapes. Cut the sunchokes into 1-inch pieces. Combine sunchokes with the oil in a large bowl and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer in the prepared pan.

Roast for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally for even cooking. While the sunchokes roast, combine the basil, garlic, and lemon zest in a mini food processor or on your cutting board and finely chop.

Sprinkle the lemon-herb mixture over the sunchokes and continue to roast for about 5 more minutes. The sunchokes should be well browned and tender, and the garlic should be fragrant but not burned.

Transfer the chokes to a serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle with salt and serve at once.

Grilled or Broiled Whole Trout with Herbs and Bacon
This is a great, tasty and simple way to cook your fish. If you don't have a handful of fresh herbs, you could also put some lemon slices in the fish.

2 whole trout
1/2 cup fresh herbs such as tarragon, thyme, marjoram, etc.
olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 pound bacon

Rinse fish and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper inside and out. Place fresh herbs inside cavity of fish. Lightly oil both sides of fish. Wrap seasoned, oiled fish with bacon mummy style, leaving head and tail exposed.

Place fish under the broiler (or on the grill, covered). Cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, taking care not to burn the bacon (move to a lower rack if necessary). Turn and continue to cok. Turn again if necessary. The fish is done when the bacon is crisp and there are no longer any traces of blood in the body cavity. No more than 12-15 minutes and could be a good bit less in a hot oven.

Place fish onto platter and serve immediately.
Lamb Kabobs
This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking, a cookbook I love and turn to often.

1 lb lamb cut into 3/4 inch cubes
8 TB plain natural yogurt
3 TB lemon juice
2 1-inch cubes of ginger, peeled and grated or minced fine
2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 tsp salt
3 TB vegetable oil

Put the meat into a stainless steel bowl. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Hold a sieve over the meat and pour the yogurt mixture into it. Push the mixture through the sieve, extracting all the paste you can. Mix the meat and the marinade well. Cover and refrigerate for 6-24 hours.

Heat your broiler.

Thread the meat on to skewers. Balance the skewers on the rim of a baking dish so that all the meat juices drip into the dish. Brush the kebabs generously with oil and place the baking dish under the broiler. When one side of the meat gets lightly browned, turn the skewers to brown the opposite side, making sure to brush this side first with more oil. Brown second side.


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